LIGHTNING FAST

thunderboltWe’re going to need a Thunderbolt connection just to share all our photos. Thunderbolt is a lightning fast connection developed for Apple. Some new PCs from HP and Asus will have it too, and fairly soon there will be Thunderbolt cards you can plug into the motherboard of older PCs.

The latest Thunderbolt connection can transfer data at 20 gigabytes per second. The latest USB 3 connection has a maximum transfer rate of five gigabits  per second. Still, we’re getting fast. What caught our attention about this high speed transfer is that a typical full-length movie is less than two gigabits. So in theory at least, you can send a standard movie in a second.

This reminds us of an incident several years ago at our local video rental store. A guy ahead of us was renting ten movies at once. Who can watch ten movies on two-day rentals, we thought? So we asked the clerk what he made of this? “Oh,” he said, “that guy does this every few days. He takes ten movies at a time, and he takes them in alphabetical order, he doesn’t care what the titles are.”

The only reason Bob could think of for doing that is that he used high speed transmission software, like Bit Torrent, to send them to a bootleg movie dealer who would record them back to DVDs and sell them for a couple dollars apiece. They could easily copy a couple hundred movies a month, and alphabetical order was as good a selection method as any and covered all subjects. Today he could do all ten movies in about 10 seconds.

As a practical matter in high speed transmission, you’re always limited by the weakest link in the chain. For us, that’s AT&T; we don’t have fiber optic cable connections which would be needed to handle the speed.

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